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Reports: Bob Cassilly Killed This Morning at "Cementland" in Bulldozer Accident

Categories: News
CASSILLY001.jpg
Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
Bob Cassilly at Cementland in 2000.
Update 4 p.m. Rose Psara, chief investigator with the St. Louis Medical, tells Daily RFT that  the bulldozer was found upright on the side of an incline. Initial reports indicate damage to the roof of the bulldozer that could suggest it rolled over before landing right-side-up. A medical autopsy is pending.

UPDATE 2:45 p.m. A source close to the family tells Daily RFT that Cassilly died from a "bulldozer accident" at Cementland in which the vehicle apparently overturned. One of Cassilly's employees found him around 8 a.m. after Cassilly failed to show up for a scheduled appointment. It's unclear when exactly Cassilly died, though it's believed he passed "instantaneously and painlessly."

Cassilly could often be found working on Cementland when the weather was favorable. The industrial site along the north St. Louis riverfront is years from completion, but already featured a castle, tunnels and airplane fuselages.

For more on Cementland, see our photo tribute here. Also see our report from the scene at the City Museum this afternoon.

UPDATE 12 p.m. Police just confirmed that the person killed at Cementland this morning was owner Bob Cassilly, 61. Mayor Francis Slay also tweeted the news at 11:53 a.m.

Original story follows...

St. Louis police report that a man identified only as a "white male" male died this morning in north St. Louis. Television news stations report that the victim was found dead in a bulldozer he was operating.

Cassilly, founder of the City Museum, has been working on Cementland for more than a decade. Cassilly himself could be found from time to time operating one of the bulldozers at the site.

Police say the victim was found dead at 8:04 this morning. More information as it develops.

cementland.jpg
Police responded to 9403 Riverview Drive around 8 a.m. to find the driver of a bulldozer dead.


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31 comments
Beets3263
Beets3263

How does a husband and father go missing overnight and not be found at one of his projects until the next day by a co- worker?

Jimfocus
Jimfocus

It's nice that some on here try to romanticize Bob's tragic death, that he died doing what he loved to do . Huh? He died needlessly operating heavy machinery in as unsafe a manner as possible doing work he was not remotely certified to do without any basic permits -- work that could have been done faster and with no one getting killed by a certified, bonded subcontractor. It's senseless. The question now is why did the cities of STL and Riverview Gardens obviously look the other way and let him run an unsafe work site without proper permits?

Charlie Grrrl
Charlie Grrrl

I feel bad for the family- Max being shot, then Bob's death sudden and tragic... The sad thing is-just like so many talents before him,most people will pay more attention to what he has created and accomplished now that he is no longer with us. Great mind,humble humor,loving aura...R.I.P.

LuckyTurtleMT
LuckyTurtleMT

All I can say it that he died as he lived. Working on projects he loved with everything in him. I have often thought and said that if I drop dead with a heart attack because I was dancing at a Kim Massie concert I would have died happy. That is the what I think that Bob Cassilly would say... he would rather be out there on the bulldozer taking risks and have something go wrong that cost him his life than he would be somewhere dreaming he could live his dreams in the comfort and safety of an office somewhere. My husband and I have turtles and love turtles and when the turtle park was first being built we were THRILLED. We went for a visit and there was Bob putting the tail on the snapping turtle... covered from head to foot with muddy water. I remember he took off his goggles to shake our hands and the area around his eyes was the only part you could see... like a raccoon mask. That is the image I will always have of him. My niece Erin posted the report of his death on her FB page. I thought it was some kind of hoax or something.... Sometimes truth is more bizarre than fiction.

Soccergirl932
Soccergirl932

RIP Bob your legacy will live on. I am praying for you and your family<3

hermosagirl
hermosagirl

Poor Bob.  What an infinitely creative genius he was. My daughter had a field trip to City Museum last Friday and we were just talking about Bob and what a difference he made, creating joy for children and doing good in the world.   Prayers to the family.  :(

Donroyse
Donroyse

How very sad that St. Louis has lost such a creative, free spirit who has brought visual delight into the lives of so many.  He will be desperately missed and impossible to replace.

MrHacks
MrHacks

I've passed by this place before. Isn't it where the weird looking drum things are near that junkyard?

Anon
Anon

'Free association, random chance, a bulldozer and Bob Cassilly."That's a very dangerous combination -- and potent."' - from the 2000 article. Sad but prescient.

Jimfocus
Jimfocus

Tragic and sad, perhaps it was meant to end this way. Bob was amazingly creative. He was also reckless -- one to constantly work without permits, basic safety precautions and a nearly complete animus toward any rules or safety regulations, and he always plunged ahead despite what anyone said to him. If you had your eyes open, in light of recent events within his empire, you had to see this coming.

KG
KG

I read this and my heart absolutely ripped apart. This is awful, awful news.

Anon
Anon

I dearly hope that he has a successor with the same aesthetic to carry on his work. It's too bad he didn't live to see Cementland completed - I worry that it won't be now.

Tboegeman
Tboegeman

Over the years I have learned a lot from Mr. Cassilly... and as a resident of St. Louis, when I drive by his installations or visit the City Museum, I will continue to be reminded of how much he has blessed this city.  Bob was a true artist.  Through his art, Bob thought me to think outside of the box...  to use creativity and imagination to find function and beauty in things that may otherwise be wasted.    architecture and design, especially that of public art, should not be something manufactured out of state (or worse out of the country), unwrapped from it's packaging, and installed by the cheapest bidder... NO, Bob thought me that public art should have it's origins in the surrounding area; brick, concrete, busses, air planes, iron, etc.. it should be something that reminds of us where our city has been and provokes thinking about how we can use our history to create new options/future.  Mr. Cassilly... you will always be remembered and your family will always be loved by St. Louis.

Erikagennari
Erikagennari

I worked for Bob for 2 1/2 years. He left an indelible mark on the people and city of St. Louis. He was an inspiring, wild, phantasmagorical character capable of creating spaces others only dreamed of. I will miss most what he hadn't yet had the chance to create.

yeppers
yeppers

Bummer.  RIP Bob.  You created an awesome place for children and adults (and adult children).

Anonymous
Anonymous

RIP Bob. Looks like it's time for me to finally check out City Museum before something even worse happens to it.

KyohakuKeisanki
KyohakuKeisanki

Especially when that co-worker knew he flipped over exactly three times... and the bulldozer was found upright, on the side of a hill... and his son was shot just a month earlier. Something doesn't add up.

Never been to the museum (only trip to STL was a 1-day'er for a tour of Washington University), but it sounds fun. Then again, most people in today's society would say "what the **** does an 18-year-old who still likes Pokémon (both the game and the TV show) and Disney Channel (especially Phineas and Ferb, ANT Farm, and Good Luck Charlie), and spends more time with his friends' little brothers than with his friends (not meaning AT ALL to sound like a creep... I just identify more with kids than with teenagers... some of the things teens do are utterly repulsive, and it seems that when they are not talking about those things, all they can talk about is what girl/boy they like), know?" Well, have they quite wrapped their heads around the fact that "that kid"'s SAT scores more than qualify "him" for the top universities in the USA, of which he has a particular affinity to Washington (and not just saying that because this is a St. Louis site)? I just happen to have never caught that "adultitis" bug which causes many fellow INTJ's to be dull workaholics who can never have fun unless they are drunk.

But anyway, I have a feeling that sometime before the end of March there will be a significant update to this news story... despite Bob's constant living-on-the-edge attitude towards safety procedures, something just seems fishy with the exact circumstances surrounding his death. Too early to make conclusions, but I have a strong gut feeling on this one.

I Love My Dad!
I Love My Dad!

you know what jimfocus, I HAVE HAD ENOUGH! i cannot stand you first u rip and tear my brothers shooting apart and now my dad, do you have anything better to do with you life than sit here and talk about about someone else. My dad was doing what he loved and was like no other cant you just accept that some people dont like to follow rules!  i love my dad to death and everything he has ever done.  i suggest from now on you leave your comments about my family alone!

Babber
Babber

 I believe most of us have the same ideas as you, it is really such a pity to see this. Still many people are looking forward to his wonderful work.

Oh
Oh

The chance that cementland is ever finished has become vanishingly small. Sad day for St. Louis.

Stlgal4u
Stlgal4u

wow thats all you can say about this..  yeah go visit that since that seems to be most important,  Nothing happened to the Museum, something happened to a parent, husband, friend and St Louis Icon!

Sspandapaw
Sspandapaw

Nothing is fishy at all about the circumstances of his death or his whereabouts preceding his death. If you don't know the dynamics of his life then you don't need to be suggesting foul play.

marsha
marsha

I just got to visit the museum the day after your dad's death.  Totally awesome.  I loved it!!!  Your dad was a genius.  I'm so sorry for your loss, but he made me come alive again.  Thanks to him and a bow to you as his child.  I hope that the museum will stay open, so that I can bring my (grown) children there. I wish I knew about when they were young.  It is magical.

Alinajosephinahristova
Alinajosephinahristova

like City Museum, Cementland will never be finished. It will open to the public though. Bob's crew will carry on; the only obstacle will be financing it now. send donations to the City Museum, payable to Rick Erwin, Bob's long-time "do it all" man for the Museum and Cementland.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Get over yourself.  At no time did the previous poster disrespect Bob, and the intent of their statement was pretty damn clear.   There was absolutely no need for your comment.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I wasn't making light of it, Bob passing is bad enough to City Museum but the thoughts of them selling it, making it less attractive, or just plain closing it is even worse to Bob's memory.

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